Do you ever try to grow something that just doesn’t perform well? It may be you or it might be it’s been planted next to something it doesn’t like. Yes, plants either love each other or hate each other.
The elder gardeners in my family always planted marigold borders around the garden to ward of pests. It works, but they have to be thick and planted annually to be effective.
Maybe hate is a strong or wrong word for plants. There is some truth to the fact that some plants fare better when interplanted or planted next to complimentary plants. For instance – I have small garden beds, the first garden we dug after we got married some 13 years ago and planted French intensive to utilize the space. The garlic was planted next to the peas. Of course, they performed, but after researching companion planting I found that garlic and onions hinder the growth of peas and beans. Sometimes things like seem like old wife’s tales, but the book called “Carrots love Tomatoes,” by Louise Riotte, gives scientific facts about how plants either thrive next to each other.
You know that motivational speakers recommend hanging out with like-minded positive people, well the same is true with plants.
Carrots love tomatoes and tomatoes love basil. Sometimes you can pair up your plants according to culinary taste. Everyone loves tomato and basil combos so it makes sense that they will grow well together.
Beans also benefit from carrots. Lettuce also grows well with carrots and radishes grown with lettuce are supposed to be more succulent.
Diversified plants are beneficial to warding off plants’ insect enemies. By planting multiple rows of various companion plants or interspersing plants in a single row will confuse insects seeking their favorite tasty treat.
Native American agrarians planted Three Sisters gardens for good reason. It was a method of companion planting at best. And, the corn, beans and squash made a nutrient rich dish when prepared together. These three plants grew symbiotically to deter pests, weeds, enrich the soil and naturally support each other. (we can investigate this at a later date).
That being said, in a nutshell, the benefits of companion planting are:
When people ask me about planting in straight rows, I simply say, “God doesn’t plant in straight rows so why should I?”
In addition to being of benefit to your garden, Louise’ book has so much more information that would be helpful to maintain your garden organically. I’m so sorry I let it collect so much dust on the shelve before I really read it.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.